Fender Highway 1 Stratocaster 2002 Reviews 5

Mine is a 2005 wine red translucent nitrocellulose finish. It came with a white/black/white three-ply pickguard with all white appointments. Maple Neck.

I bought it at Brook Mays Music in Duncanville, Texas as they were going out of business in 2007 with hardshell case for $400. When I saw it on the wall, I wanted it. I had previously owned a 1994 made in Mexico Fender 'Squire Series' strat which was fiesta red. The nice, darker wine red with the wood grain still promisingly visible erased any feeling of wanting that old Mexy back.

The translucent nitrocellulose on these early Highway 1s is very nice looking, and does seem to be improving with age. It has a very spartan, utilitarian sort of beauty. This is an American-made Stratocaster with a PRE-CBS HEADSTOCK!!! I can't stand those 'big peghead' abominations. To me, the neck is the centerpiece of the guitar. It's just the perfect neck. It's a 'C', but it's closer in overall thickness to the 'soft Vs' that I've played. The frets seem particularly well crowned and rounded on the edges for a factory Fender, but that could just be mine. The tremolo seems to be of a very good mass, and the imitation bone nut does its job well enough, as the sustain is better than most other strats I've played that didn't have a Floyd Rose system installed.

The only downside to these as they come from the factory is the pickups. The pickups that come on this thing are (in my own humble opinion) under-wound and poo. They sound tinny in positions 1, 3, and 5, and they sound overly warm in positions 2 and 4. For the price, though, who can complain? They are still better than the pickups on most Squiers. I put a set of Seymour Duncan Alnico II Pro Flat APS-2 true single-coils into mine and now it SINGS. They cost me $120, so the total cost of my guitar with true vintage reproduction pickups is $520. With those Seymour vintage replicas soldered in there, what you have with a pre-2006 Highway 1 strat is a BETTER 'Made in USA' strat than the American Standard.

The construction is very solid on the guitar, especially in the neck pocket. It's clearly built to stand the test of time. I like how they used two American Series string trees on this one; even an American Standard that you go out and buy new today (2011) only has one.

The low price point, the 'Made in USA' aspect, the very exacting construction, even for an American Fender, the increasingly rare trans nitro treatment, and the name 'Highway 1' all suggest to me that Fender wanted this to be a guitar that young players got their hands on, fell in love with, and never really put down. They succeeded. With new pickups, this becomes a professional-grade instrument.

Adam from Dallas rated this unit 5 on 2011-09-03.

I had a black 2002 Mexican Stratocaster with maple neck. I traded it plus $300.00 Canadian for a Cocoa Highway 1 Stratocaster. They list for $856.99 Canadian and I had orginally paid $ 549.00 for the Mexiacan so I consider it a great deal.

I love the finish. I can see the wood and from what I've heard the satin laquer finish will improve looks wise and sound wise at the guitar ages. I love the neck. I went with rosewood this time but it fels comfortable. The tuners and bridge are chrome and have that vintage look to them and the headstock is a beauty. It reads Fender Stratocaster, Made in U.S.A. and Original Countour Body. It has that classic Strat tone. I little stronger pickups system than the MIM Strat I had before. I sounds beauty with just the righ amount ovf overdrive in position # 2.

Well the finish is not as durable as the poly-finished MIM ones (but it to my eyes looks better). There were a few issues with the left over residue where the neck is bolted on. Nothing major but my MIM Stratocaster was cleaner upon shipping.

It seems wel built enough. I don't like the setup from the factory but I expect that with any guitar and I'm sure once it visits my guitar shop it will comeout sounding sweet. I'd say it's good value and quality.

Would I buy another one if this one was lost or stolen. Well after wailing for a few days I probably would. Since this is priced right between Mexican and American Standard Stratocasters, I would have to say I would go up to the next level for a few reasons. 1)More durable finish 2)Perceived higher quality But having said that I have no regrets and this is a fine instrument for the price. I would have no problem recommending this to anyone, but I would encourage them to play a Stratocaster first in person, then purchase locally or online and then count on having it taken somewhere to have it set up and everything checked out. Every guitar is a little bit different and each has it's own feel. Try a few out first to see which one "speaks" to you!

astrowabbit rated this unit 5 on 2003-07-23.

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